Daniel Kjellsson

thoughts on the evolution of media, marketing and mankind

February 16, 2015

Billy Walters: The world’s most successful sports bettor

For four decades, other gamblers have tried to be Billy Walters while investigators have tried to bring him down. And for four decades, the world’s most successful sports bettor has outrun them all. ESPN Magazine has published an intriguing look at a legend:

He left two failed marriages and a car salesman gig behind in Kentucky and, after a misdemeanour gambling conviction, headed west with a tiny bank account and a heavy drinking habit…


Walters, now 68, is thought to have bet more money more successfully than anyone in history, earning hundreds of millions of dollars. Walters beats the odds everywhere — in the stock market, real estate, criminal proceedings and his true wheelhouse, sports gambling. His talent brought him from a life of poverty in rural Kentucky to one of wild success. He owns a fleet of car dealerships, several high-end golf courses, a private jet and fabulous homes in places like Palm Desert and Cabo San Lucas.

Read the story Billy Walters: A Life On The Line in ESPN Magazine. Words by Mike Fish.

September 14, 2014

A theory about the rise of fashion blogging

RewardStyle is an affiliate marketing service offering popular publishers to make money out of editorial recommendations. Without informing the readership about the fact that what they click is actually paid advertising.

A less critical description could be that rewardStyle is one of the most interesting fashion-technology companies of the this decade. Texas Monthly recently published a profile on co-founder Amber Venz. It’s 6,000 words worthy of your time.

What’s not worthy of your time (nor the paper it was printed on), is this quote from reporter Francesca Mari:

HERE’S A THEORY about the rise of fashion blogging: in 2008 and 2009, during the dark days of the recession, magazines laid off employees left and right. Ad pages shrank, and, perhaps coincidentally, the brands that continued to advertise continued to be written about. Yet aspiring fashionistas, many of them unemployed millennials living with their parents, had plenty more to say. Blogger software was free and easy, so those young women turned to the Internet and started doing what magazines weren’t—mixing high and low brands and taking pictures that were rough and unexpected.

The evolution had nothing to do with recession nor advertising. Here’s what actually happened:

As a new generation of media consumers looked to traditional media outlets for guidance and inspiration, the bricks-and-mortar-media (myself included, at the time) failed to service this demographic. The newcomers were young individuals more familiar with expressions in imagery and text- and instant messages than in general journalism.

A technological evolution laid ground for a social media one and although traditional media outlets saw this whole thing coming from day one (again, myself included), it was too far from what they were doing at the time. Perhaps it was even too far from what was comfortable.

The audience wanted inspirational, authoritative and opinionated voices telling them what to do. Not because they couldn’t think for themselves but because self-expression was natural to them. Immediate, personal, recommending. Professional journalists, the primary source of content at the time (we’re talking 2005-2006) was taught to remain objective and stay far away commercial leads. The young demographic wanted “Buy this dress!”. Journalists wrote “Here are 10 dresses”. It may seem an almost undetectable variation but it gave birth to a new industry.

At that exact time the editorial staff of any quality magazine also withheld any content from the web until their respective print magazine had been in stores for weeks.

Boom. The last was generation lost.

September 14, 2014

Oleg Grigoryev’s “Morning Views from a Tent”

While trekking through Tajikistan’s mountains in Central Asia, Russian photographer Oleg Grigoryev decided to document his morning view each day in a series he has aptly titled, “Morning Views from a Tent.”


His blog is in Russian – meaning I’ve got no clue what he’s talking about. But the photo essay makes me want to drop everything and reach for my hiking boots.

September 10, 2014

Saturday Group spill the beans

For years I’ve considered Saturday Group, the creative mothership of Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson, to be one of the most interesting companies in the fashion, advertising and marketing dump.

With an annual turnover of £60m, more than 200 employees, Saturday Group’s umbrella business interests range from a clothing-distribution company (Tomorrow), a fashion communications division (RMO), a digital creative advertising agency (Wednesday), a talent-management company (ITB360), a trade-focused, glossy fashion fanzine (Industrie), a denim brand (Frame Denim), and, launching in February 2014, a womenswear label (Grace).

Jens Grede:

At the intersection where entertainment meets fashion you have one single 24-hour period through which to make your mark. If you get your 24 hours where the work – an ad, an image, a piece of promotional activity, a music video – spreads from newspaper columns to websites, to blogs, trending Twitter feeds, to TV, radio and social media channels, then you’ve succeeded.

British GQ has got a profile worthy of your time: Saturday Group: You’ve been framed!

September 3, 2014

The end of the printed newspaper

Print ad revenues have fallen 65% in a decade, 2013 saw the lowest ever recorded, and 2014 will be worse. If you are a journalist at a print publication, your job is in danger. Period. Time to do something about it.

When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Times ran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.” The future of print remains what?

Clay Shirky:

Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.


This disconnection between the business side and the news side was celebrated as a benefit, right up to the moment it became an industry-wide point of failure.

Read Clay Shirky’s piece Last Call on Medium.

September 3, 2014

The rise and fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Interesting read on the rise of H&M, Zara and Topshop – and the fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The Abercrombie & Fitch logo is no longer a marker of popularity and, in fact, hasn’t been one for years. Why should a teen send subtle signals about her identity by dressing in a certain brand when she can define herself explicitly on Facebook and Instagram?

Read the piece Abercrombie & Fitch knows it’s not cool anymore on The New Yorker.

July 19, 2014

A letter to Microsoft: Cut Once, Cut Deeply, Cut Quickly

I’m not going to pretend to fully understand big corporate restructuring but you don’t have to to sympathise with anyone, anywhere currently being held in the line of layoff fire. Mini-Microsoft writes from within the Seattle giant (currently looking to cut 18 000 jobs), highlighting the stress and anxiety hitting the workforce.

First, the selfish stress about whether my job is affected. Then personal circle stress. Then partner collaboration stress. Then way out there general concerns about the company. And guess what: when folks are stressed and gossiping, they are not effectively – er, excuse me, productively (?) – implementing the latest strategy. Physiologically, they have increased cortisol and this time will turn into a fog.

And then…

That’s why I hope that Cut Quickly happens. With constant worries and concerns and doubts about engaging in new ideas due to expectations those would be the easiest to trim during ongoing cut-backs. When is it over? When is the “all clear” signal given?

All clear.

June 15, 2014

Jimmy Iovine: The billionaire who smell blood

I knew very little about Jimmy Iovine prior to the first “Apple is buying Beats” rumours. Embarrassing but true (I had even bought a pair of headphones from the guy, for christ’s sake). Now the deal is done ($3.25B, ka-ching) and I have caught up on my homework.

One of my favourite archive pieces is the Rolling Stone interview from April 2012. It’s a glimpse into who Iovine is and how much he cares. It’s a tale of how to turn your obsession into big business.



Before you head into the text, a word from Iovine’s dad:

Once, he overheard his dad, a longshoreman, talking to a friend outside. “The guy asks my dad, ‘What is it with your son, with the music and the headphones? What is this shit he does?'” Iovine recalls, laughing. “My dad goes, ‘He’s got magic ears. He can hear what you’re thinking.'”

Here it is, Rolling Stone’s “Jimmy Iovine: The Man With The Magic Ears”.


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